DC -- Octagon House and American Institute of Architects Bldg:
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Description of Subject Matter: The Octagon House, built between 1798 and 1800, was designed by Dr. William Thornton, the architect of the U.S. Capitol, and completed by 1800. Colonel John Tayloe, for whom the house was built, owned Mt. Airy plantation, located approximately 100 miles south of Washington in Richmond County, Virginia. Tayloe was reputed to be the richest Virginian plantation owner of his time, and built the house in Washington at the suggestion of George Washington. In 1814, Colonel Tayloe offered the use of his home to President and Mrs. Madison for a temporary "Executive Mansion" after the burning of the White House by the British. Madison, who used the circular room above the entrance as a study, signed the Treaty of Ghent there, which ended the War of 1812.
This three-story brick house, adapted to an irregular-shaped lot, displays a dramatic break with the traditional, late Georgian and early Federal house planning that preceded it. The Octagon achieves a zenith in Federal architecture in the United States, through its brilliant plan which combines a circle, two rectangles, and a triangle, and through the elegance and restraint of the interior and exterior decoration. The Coade stone, stoves, other decorative elements, and furniture were imported from England. The construction materials, such as bricks, timber, iron, and Acquia creek sandstone were all manufactured locally.
The Octagon House became the home of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) on January 1, 1899, and complete ownership of the property was acquired in the year 1902. Today, the American Architectural Foundation owns the Octagon House, and the AIA has moved its headquarters to a larger building located directly behind it. The house has undergone extensive renovation since 1996, culminating in efforts to restore it to its original period appearance.
The Octagon House is located at 18th St. and New York Ave. NW. Prearranged group tours are available by appointment. To arrange, phone 202/638-3221. V ...More...
Specific picture descriptions: Photos above with "i" icons next to the bracketed sequence numbers (e.g. " ") are described as follows:
OCT_970808_01.JPG: Octagon House
The house was designed in 1798 by William Thornton, the first architect of the US Capitol. After the British burned the city in 1814, the Octagon House was one of the few remaining structures left standing. (It is said that the French Minister was in residence at the Octagon House so a French flag was flying over it during the attack. The British were not at war with France and spared the building.) While the White House was repaired, the Octagon House was temporarily the Presidential Mansion. While residing here, President James Madison signed the Treaty of Ghent which officially ended the War of 1812. His wife, Dolley Madison, hosted a huge celebration for the event and her ghost is said to still haunt the place.
In 1899, the American Institute of Architects took over the building, making it their home in 1910. In 1971, the AIA added the building seen behind this one.
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2018_DC_Octagon: DC -- Octagon House and American Institute of Architects Bldg (40 photos from 2018)
2017_DC_Octagon: DC -- Octagon House and American Institute of Architects Bldg (105 photos from 2017)
2014_DC_Octagon: DC -- Octagon House and American Institute of Architects Bldg (74 photos from 2014)
2009_DC_Octagon: DC -- Octagon House and American Institute of Architects Bldg (41 photos from 2009)
2005_DC_Octagon: DC -- Octagon House and American Institute of Architects Bldg (1 photos from 2005)
1997_DC_Octagon: DC -- Octagon House and American Institute of Architects Bldg (4 photos from 1997)
Sort of Related Subject Pages: Still more pages here that have content somewhat related to this one:
2014_DC_Octagon_1812: DC -- Octagon House and American Institute of Architects Bldg -- Exhibit: War of 1812 (20 photos from 2014)
2018_DC_Octagon_Lundy: DC -- Octagon House and American Institute of Architects Bldg -- Exhibit: Victor Lundy: Artist Architect (45 photos from 2018)
2015_DC_Octagon_Up: DC -- Octagon House and American Institute of Architects Bldg -- Exhibit: Up from the Past (45 photos from 2015)
2017_DC_Octagon_CODAworx: DC -- Octagon House and American Institute of Architects Bldg -- Exhibit: The CODAworx CODAawards (60 photos from 2017)
2015_DC_Octagon_Gold_Medal: DC -- Octagon House and American Institute of Architects Bldg -- Exhibit: AIA Gold Medal Award (65 photos from 2015)
2018_DC_Octagon_Young: DC -- Octagon House and American Institute of Architects Bldg -- Exhibit: 50 Years After Whitney Young Jr. (56 photos from 2018)
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1997 photos: Image quality isn't going to be very good because these are scans of prints. In 1997 I was using a Pentax ME Super SLR camera. This was way before I went digital so the images you see on this site were manually scanned from the original prints, some 4x6 and some 5x7. Apparently I wasn't indicating dates that I took pictures this year so I only know the month in most cases -- normally the file name tells you the date-stamp of the picture in yymmdd form but not in 1997!